Over the weekend, I was talking with a friend who is also a media librarian. She asked if I was going to watch the Super Bowl, which launched an interesting conversation about how we can’t turn our “media brains” off when watching anything. Watching an event like the Super Bowl raises so many media issues–politics in sports, televised violence, sexism–and that’s just the game. Add in the commercials and the half-time show and the spectacle turns into information overload to someone attuned to analyzing what they are watching.
The answer turned out to be: I watched the second half. Actually turned it on partway through the halftime show, and got to see part of the awful performance by the Black Eyed Peas.
I just want to point out a few things that intrigued me post-spectacle.
Salon posted an interesting article the day after the game, The Super Bowl’s Bloated, Chaotic Spectacle, which analyzed some of the media-related issues which surround the game. The article, to a certain extent, captures the experience of being the kind of attentive viewer that is compelled to analyze something that is seen by most people as “mere entertainment.” Of course, what entertains us say a lot about who we are and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
A couple of commercials that they don’t mention seem worth pointing out. One is this ad from Groupon that exploits the political strife in Tibet. I found it rather surprising that a company would decide to use such a sensitive political issue to try to hawk their goods. I haven’t seen any backlash against this ad, but there has been some against a tweet by Kenneth Cole who tried to capitalize on the recent events in Egypt. Perhaps the latter story created more of a stir because those events have been more in the news recently.
As the author of the Grist piece points out, the most outlandish part of the ad is the claim that we should resist the government trying to control what we eat and drink when the existing subsidies are what make soda so inexpensive to drink in the first place.
Finally, here is an interesting interview with Dave Zirin, author of A People’s History of Sports in the United States and co-author of the documentary Not Just a Game: Power, Politics & American Sports, who provides some insight into the role of politics in sports.
Not Just a Game | Media Education Foundation : taken from – http://www.mediaed.org/cgi-bin/commerce.cgi?preadd=action&key=151